A 1960s sponsored film that highlights Chicago's water system as one of "the seven wonders of Modern American engineering." It includes scenes of Chicago's lake front, skyline and water facilities. Made by Cine-Graff Production for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD). From our Rhodes Patterson Collection.
October 1, 2012
Who Was This Made For?
A typical 60's film which I expected would delve into the interesting detail of Chicago's waste water disposal system which backed up the flow of the Chicago River towards the Mississippi (a remarkable engineering feat) instead of into Lake Michigan. But it really doesn't say much about that; in any detail, anyway. There are undertones of defensiveness in this presentation - possibly because in this time, there was a huge drive on to get cities to quit polluting the Great Lakes - an effort that managed to stop some of it (but not all) and fomented some heated discussion and flying accusations among the various Great Lake cities on both sides of the international border. Perhaps this film was a sort of "don't look at me.." on the part of Chicago.
By the way, a guy I worked with grew up in this time period in Gary, Indiana - about 25 miles to the south and he used to tell me about the metal shavings that stuck to his skin when he came out of the lake which there smelled like organic solvents, after swimming in those days.
Nice shots of the Chicago lakefront, a gasometer at one point, and some sludgy water coming down the sanitary canal. Limited info; limited period.